Close friend of Moldovan oligarch Plahotniuc dead in apparent suicide

By bne IntelliNews August 19, 2019

Iurie Luncasu, a close associate of the former leader of the Democratic Party (PDM) and Moldova's richest businessman Vlad Plahotniuc, was found shot in the head on Saturday night in a field close to Chisinau, Noi.md reported.

His death occurred after a new coalition consisting of the Socialist Party and pro-EU ACUM bloc came to power in Moldova, ousting the Democratic Party-led government, and announcing a policy of “de-oligarchisation”. Plahotnuic has left the country. 

Luncasu is known as the representative of the Cyprus-based company that purchased the substantial White House building in a luxury area of Chisinau MDL154mn (€7.5mn), as well as some 2ha of land around it including the houses that he demolished to develop a property that reportedly had Plahotniuc as final beneficiary.

His chauffeur, Babin Boris, told the police that Luncasu asked him to take him for a ride "to get some fresh air," according to Noi.md, quoting a report from the police. Babin claims that Luncasu asked him to stop in the middle of the ride, stepped out of the car and shot himself. The businessman reportedly dictated a note to Babin before stepping out, that said: “The White House, I bought it in 2017. I was an investor.” It is not clear who was supposed to be the recipient of the note.

Sources quoted by Ziarul National as saying that Luncasu had been subject to intense pressure from the Ministry of Interior, headed by Andrei Nastase (head of the Dignity and Truth party and co-president of ACUM) to testify that the final beneficiary of the property was Plahotniuc.

"What has happened is the consequence of the pressure on Luncasu that he has been subjected to lately. The pressure came from the circle of the current government, more precisely from the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and Luncasu was urged to declare that the real beneficiary of several buildings, including the so-called "White House" from Telecentru, is Vlad Plahotniuc, not him,” sources told Noi-md.

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